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The South Ossetian border in early February (ITAR-TASS)
April 1, 2006 -- Georgian authorities say they have detained a South Ossetian separatist official on suspicion of smuggling cigarettes.
Vazha Khachapuridze was detained today near the village of Ergneti, in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone.
Khachapuridze is a close aide to South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity.
Also today, the South Ossetian leadership said in a statement that Georgian counterintelligence officers briefly detained Deputy Interior Minister Khazbi Guliyev on March 31. The incident took place near the Georgian town of Khashuri, where Guliyev was reportedly on a mission agreed upon with regional police.
South Ossetia forcibly won de facto independence from Georgia in the early 1990s.
(Civil Georgia, Novosti-Gruziya, Imedi TV)
Former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze (RFE/RL)
'NO OTHER WAY OUT': Georgia's parliament on February 15 called upon the government to review the 1992 agreement that put an end to the war with South Ossetia and secure the withdrawal of all Russian peacekeepers stationed in the separatist republic. Officials in Tbilisi have long accused the Russian soldiers of siding with the separatist forces and posing a threat to Georgia's national security. Russia has protested the Georgian vote, arguing that Tbilisi has no right unilaterally to amend the 1992 peace agreement. Georgia, in turn, says it has the right to do so.
RFE/RL's Georgian Service correspondent Nona Mchedlishvili asked former President EDUARD SHEVARDNADZE, who signed the agreement with his then Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, to comment on the dispute....(more)
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